An outbreak of Ebola in the province of Equateur, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been declared. The outbreak, in the northeast of the country, has affected 43 people who have presented symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the region: 3 confirmed as Ebola, 20 probable cases and 20 suspected cases (with 23 deaths so far). This includes a new laboratory-confirmed case in the city of Mbandaka, which has a population of more than one million people, and is an active port city located on the Congo River. This new case is related to the epicenter of the epidemic, east of Lake Tumba.
Currently, the national health authorities have notified 514 people who may have been in contact with infected persons, and are currently under supervision. To address the epidemic and limit the risk of its spread to the maximum, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is intensifying its response in the affected areas (Mbandaka and Bikoro).
The MSF emergency teams are already in place and have established an isolation zone in the main hospital of Mbandaka (5 beds) and one in the Bikoro hospital (10 beds). The teams are also installing two Ebola Treatment Centers (ETC) in Mbandaka and Bikoro, with 20 beds each. In the coming days, several tons of supplies (medical kits, protection and disinfection kits containing insulation elements, such as protective clothing, gloves and boots, logistics and hygiene kits containing items such as plastic sheeting, spray kits chlorine, water treatment kits, etc., palliative medicines will arrive in Mbandaka, among MSF field staff are some of the most experienced Ebola workers in the organization, including medical staff, infection control experts and specialists in logistics.
"This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola in Congo in the last 40 years, so far, all of them have occurred in remote and isolated areas, as was the case last year in Likati, when the epidemic it spread, "explains Henry Gray, MSF emergency coordinator in Mbandaka, the new case confirmed in Mbandaka, the scenario has changed, and it has become more serious and worrisome, since the disease is now affecting an urban area. It is essential to trace the suspect case to have a clearer vision of how it arrived in the city. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and other organizations in the field to implement a coordinated, adapted and rapid response to stop the spread of Ebola. "
In addition, MSF and its research arm, Epicenter, are working on Close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) on the implementation of the ebola vaccine rVSVDG-ZEBOV-GP as an additional measure to control the outbreak.While the strategy is implemented, the "pillars" of an Ebola intervention, consisting of the early treatment and isolation of sick people, the follow-up and follow-up of contacts, informing people about the disease, how to prevent it and where to look for it, supporting existing medical care and temporarily changing cultural behavior around funerals must continue to stop the spread of the disease.